CONCACAF announced today that the CONCACAF Nations League, which begins tomorrow, will also serve as the qualification path for the 2021 Gold Cup. After Nations League group play concludes in November, some teams will take part in Gold Cup qualification playoffs depending on the results of the group stage. The four League A group winners advance to the CONCACAF Nations League Finals, which have been moved to June 2020.
Qualification for the 2021 Gold Cup will be determined by the Nations League group stage results. It will begin in League A, where the top 2 teams from each group will earn direct qualification to the 2021 Gold Cup. The 4 group winners from League B will also earn direct qualification in addition to being promoted to League A.
The 3rd-place teams in each League A group, the 2nd-place finishers in each League B group, and the 4 League C group winners advance to a two-round set of Gold Cup qualifiers. The first round will consist of a home-and-away in March 2020 between the 2nd-place League B teams and the League C group winners, with a draw to pair a League B team against a League C team. The winners of the matchup will then advance to the second round in June 2020, where they will be drawn against the League A 3rd-place teams in a home-and-away series. The winners of that round will be the final 4 teams in the 2021 Gold Cup field.
Need a picture of how it will work? CONCACAF has it in flow chart form:
This means that 24 of the 41 teams in the region’s confederation will earn at least a chance at Gold Cup qualification through their Nations League performance. Each of the Nations League matches will be treated as qualification matches for the purpose of the FIFA World Rankings. This would also mean that teams will be able to cap-tie players who compete in Nations League matches.
Hit the comments to discuss what you think of this new Gold Cup qualification process and if it gets you more excited about the start of Nations League.